SES calls for new volunteers

Here to help. Rutherglen SES members John Terrill, Irene Cracknell and Nari Niven (front row) with Mark Nesbitt and Toni Harris in the truck.

The Rutherglen State Emergency Service (SES) unit is searching for more volunteers with a passion for helping others in times of need.

Rutherglen Unit Controller Irene Cracknell OAM said SES plays a vital role in preparing for and responding to the region’s severe weather events, road crash rescues, trees on roads and help coordinate with other emergency services during crises.

Mrs Cracknell, who first joined SES in 1981, said joining the SES was a great way to learn new skills which are recognised nationwide.

“Many of these skills are life skills that can be applied in everyday life and in future careers,” she said.

Rutherglen members said there are plenty of benefits of being part of the SES.

For Mark Nesbitt the best thing about being part of SES was being able to give back to the community, a sentiment shared by all members.

Toni Harris said the skills learned along the way were another advantage.

“Being a part of the SES is highly rewarding, from making lifelong friends to being there for members of the community,” she said.

“We get to learn new skills that are recognised nationally including safe working heights training, obtaining medium rigid license, working with children and the correct use of chainsaws.

“We learn skills that we can apply to the outside world like decision making.”

One of the younger members Nari Niven said SES had provided her with a lot of confidence.

“We are so well supported, and our group very tight-knit,” she said.

“It’s great knowing that the work we do really does have a positive impact on the community.

“The other good thing is, there are so many areas you can work in from on-the-groundwork to operational support roles including media liaison and community engagement. You don’t have to do road rescues or climb on roofs. It’s up to the individual.”

This summer proved to be one of the biggest and most challenging seasons for Rutherglen SES members with rain and storm events causing a huge workload for the already stretched crew.

“The event that stands out for us is the flood event that occurred at the end of January,” Ms Harris said.

“We had 57 requests for assistance. We received the first page at 12:27am on Sunday. Between then and 4am is when the bulk of those requests for assistance came through.

“Thank goodness we had the firies helping us because most of the time we were just triaging.”

Ms Harris said Rutherglen was fortunate to have close working relationship with Chiltern SES, the local fire brigade and even the Corowa Volunteer Rescue Association.

With only a handful of members available to respond to requests for assistance frequently, the Rutherglen Unit are now hoping to attract a few more members to help support their efforts. Positions are available for people of any age and ability.

“We only have 10 active members and are in desperate need of new volunteers,” Mrs Cracknell said.

To find out more about volunteering with VICSES contact Irene Cracknell on Irene Cracknell 0439 829 429, email or visit

Rutherglen SES members will also be out in force on Good Friday assisting CFA crews with collecting money for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.